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DIARY Jeon Kyu-hwan

North Korean defector and the people surrounding her, has the feel of an intimate documentary. The film is the last part of the

Dance Town Talk of the Town

BY JEAN NOH Jeon Kyu-hwan first had the idea for Dance Town, which premiered in Berlin’s Panorama section, after a rare conversation with a North Korean defector working as a waitress in a tea room in South Korea. “She was reported for watching

an adult film video, so got out before they could send her away

to some labour camp. We’ve all seen the films and heard about the life-risking attempts to get out of North Korea, but she was say- ing it costs money to do it com- fortably, but the reality is that it isn’t so hard,” he said. “I wanted to tell a truthful story without distortion, using the grammar of realism,” says the director, whose film about a lonely

South Korean director’s well- travelled Town trilogy. The first, Animal Town, went to festivals including San Sebastian in 2009, while its follow-up, Mozart Town, went to the likes of Tokyo and Philadelphia in 2010. “The Town series is unembel-

lished fiction, and the city is always the main character in the films,” says Jeon. As well as keeping busy with

his festival engagements, the pro- lific film-maker is in post on his first melodrama, Varanasi, which is set in India and features a ter- rorist bombing and a dysfunc- tional couple.

Belgian beefs up for Bullhead

BY GEOFFREY MACNAB So just how did Belgian method actor Matthias Schoenaerts bulk up to play the beefy Belgian farmer in Michael R Roskam’s Berlinale entry Bullhead? The normally slender Schoen-

aerts went to such extreme lengths to transform his body shape that it makes Robert De Niro’s efforts in Raging Bull seem tame. Apart from pumping iron, he recently confessed that in the year before shooting, he ate 3,000 tins of tuna,

SHOOTING STAR PROFILES Over the festival, Screen is profiling the 10 young actors selected for EFP’s Shooting Stars

DOMHNALL GLEESON (IRE) Credits Never Let Me Go (2010), Sensation (2010) First time in Berlin? I was lucky enough to be at the Berlinale last year with a great short, Corduroy, and so I know a little about how much the city has to offer.

Plans for the festival? I’m looking forward to meeting my fellow actors, having a few drinks, maybe seeing some short films and checking out the galleries I missed last time. What’s next? [My father] Brendan Gleeson’s directorial debut, At Swim- Two-Birds.

CLARA LAGO (SP) Credits The Hanged Man (2009), For The Good Of Others (2010) First time in Berlin? I came to Berlin last summer on a trip with my friends.

n 10 Screen International in Berlin February 13, 2011 Bullhead

several hundred chickens and sev- eral kilos of oatmeal. His fellow actors weren’t

entirely comfortable with his eat- ing habits. “Gross!” his Dutch co-

star, Frank Lammers, recalls. “He was dedicated. He drank these bottles with tuna, salt and water. I couldn’t even look at it.” Schoenaerts is now busy slim-

ming down, trying to shed the weight he spent so long acquiring. His efforts have certainly paid

dividends at the Belgian box office. Released recently by Kine- polis, Bullhead attracted close to 63,000 admissions in its opening weekend. Celluloid Dreams han- dles sales.

Today Grey

Cloud, high 1°


White cloud, high 3°


The director of the competition entry talks about fairy tales, stereoscopic 3D and English-speaking audiences’ fear of breasts

How did you get this project started? I first began working on it 20 years ago and did a few shorts, some of which were released on TV. I went to Christophe Rossignon, producer of Azur Et Asmar, with those stories. He initially thought they were for TV, but I said I wanted to do film. When he saw the first fairy tale, he agreed it was for cinema. We reshot completely and some new stories were added.

So there are several stories? It’s a collection of fairy tales and a celebration of storytelling and the world of showbusiness. We start backstage. For each story there is a boy and a girl, an old technician and a derelict cinema, which looks abandoned but isn’t. They do what I do — they invent stories, they discuss, they draw, they get into it, they do whatever they want with all the technology they want. And there’s even a curtain that opens.

Have you worked with stereoscopic 3D before?

This was the first time. I worked with good people, and we enjoyed ourselves. It was a return to the old times. Though it’s supposed to be state-of-the-art technology, I initially returned to the little puppets I used

to use and I would animate under the camera, with the background on a piece of glass and the light underneath. It looks like paper theatre on a stage and that’s the way I wanted it.

Some territories had a problem with the nudity in Kirikou And The Sorceress. Do you anticipate similar issues with Tales Of The Night?

English-speaking countries are scared by breasts. There are breasts in nearly all my films. When we showed Kirikou to the BBC, it wouldn’t air it — not even at 11 at night. Nobody in the US wanted to release it. When I showed Azur Et Asmar at Cannes, two American journalists thought it was a challenge to America. And yes, I’m afraid there is an African princess in Tales Of The Night who doesn’t wear a bra.

What does it mean to you to be in competition in Berlin?

I did not expect to be selected. It’s sensational to think that my honest little stories are among the best films in the world. It means a lot for a major festival to recognise my craft — animation. But my film is not only for kids. I don’t realise I’m doing an animation. I think of myself as a film-maker.

Andreas Wiseman

Plans for the festival? I’ll try to see some films and above all, enjoy the festival with the rest of the actors of Shooting Stars. What are you working on next? The opening of [thriller] Bunker, and I have a new project… but I can’t say anything about that for the moment.

Tales Of The Night

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